LAHORE: Federal Science & Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry says there is no chance of relief for masses in terms of power tariff as consumers are still paying half of the power cost.

He said the previous governments unnecessarily installed costly IPP projects that run on even costly furnace oil. Since the country imports furnace oil and pays bills in dollars, he said, power bills increased. He also said the PDM and price-hike were one and the same thing.

Mr Chaudhry was speaking to the media after the inauguration ceremony of the iOS App and the upgraded website of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Radio FM 98.6 at the LCCI on Saturday.

The federal minister made it clear that the secret balloting for Senate elections would cause more damage to the opposition parties than the ruling party. He said the ruling party had presented election reforms comprehensive package in the parliament and stressed that it was high time that the opposition come forward and discussed the reforms.

Mr Chaudhry also stated that the PDM would not be able to do its scheduled March 26 long march as PDM chief Maulana Fazalur Rehman would instead go to submit a reply to the NAB than joining a sit-in.

The minister said the country’s future was associated with modern technologies and the government wanted to turn Pakistan into a technological power.

Stating that there no attention towards the science and technology sector in the past, the minister said, “We are keeping a close eye on technological advancement”.

He said the previous governments’ decision to turn Pakistan’s economy into import-based on the pattern of Dubai and Singapore was wrong. He said Prime Minister Imran Khan had revived the industrialization and manufacturing in the country. He said the civil and military interface had been created and now they were exchanging their researches.

Mr Chaudhry said Pakistan was importing medical equipment, when the first wave of Covid-19 hit the country but now Pakistan was one of 18 countries that were manufacturing ventilators.

“I believe the government should stay away from businesses and let the private sector do its job”, Mr Chaudhry said and added that businessmen should keep an eye on those businesses that were coming in and going to be obsolete in the future. He said some operations of the PSQCA would be privatized soon.

The minister said the 5G technology would bring a revolution and added that Pakistan needed to have a stable internet to get full advantage of technological advancement.

He said Cannabis was an alternative to cotton and its production would give benefits to the economy a vast scale. He said farms for cannabis production were being established in Jhelum, Peshawar, Chakwal, and Islamabad.

Mr Chaudhry said Pakistan had the most lucrative electric vehicle auto policy and that electric vehicles would take over others and help reduce environmental pollution. He said the businessmen could get guidance regarding business trends from his ministry. He admitted that certification was one of the major hurdles in export promotion that should be removed.

He said the PTI government had also revived the health industry and added that the pharmaceutical sector of Pakistan was at surge and a leading company was going to establish a manufacturing plant for dialysis equipment in Pakistan.

LCCI President Mian Tariq Misbah stressed that every professional and organization needed to keep pace with the requirements of modernization in this era of information technology and digitization. He said the LCCI had launched its App in December 2020 for Android users but keeping in view the needs of iPhone users and ensuring its presence on Apple App Store, the chamber’s team had introduced another edition of the LCCI App. He said the Lahore chamber also enjoyed the distinction of having a state-of-the-art setup of FM Radio. He said his team upgraded the website of LCCI FM Radio and lauded the efforts of Muhammad Haroon Arora in this regard.

LCCI vice-president Tahir Manzoor Chaudhry, former presidents Mian Misbah ur Rehman, Sohail Lashari, executive committee members and convener of S/C on IT infrastructure & Development Muhammad Haroon Arora also spoke.

Published in Dawn, February 14th, 2021

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